[Review] Losing Game – LEO (VIXX)

Yesterday saw the return of LEO, the main vocalist of VIXX, a group which we don’t hear too often nowadays. He returns with the title track Losing Game and the mini-album Piano Man Op. 9. This is LEO’s second solo release since completing his military enlistment in 2021. He did release a standalone single at the end of 2021 titled I’m Still Here, but I actually missed this release and have not reviewed it. His last review on my blog was for Romanticism and his mini-album Muse.

Losing Game is a decent track. I liked the different elements that make up Losing Game. But as the song progresses along, it felt just didn’t develop into much. Let’s start off with what I liked. Losing Game‘s R&B instrumental had this slow yet groovy vibe to it. It was subtle, but it was there. The piano that appears throughout the instrumental was deliberate to bring out the emotions behind Losing Game, while the crunchy percussion in the song adds some interesting textures to Losing Game so it isn’t too bland and brings some modern flair to the song. LEO’s vocals were very captivating for the most part and his singing style is well suited for the likes of Losing Game. This voice really shines during the bridge, when most of the instrumental was stripped away. I also enjoyed the opening melodies of the chorus, with the “Need you right here” being the one line that replays in my mind after the song completes. My only gripe about the song, as already mentioned, is that it lacks development. What do I mean about this? Well, the song sounds exactly like how it started. While sometimes it is a good thing, I felt Losing Game needed a climax or a peak. It held back and this didn’t really help make the song appealing as it could have been. I do think we in a direction of a pea when a guitar presence emerges from the instrumental just at the end of the bridge, and Losing Game would have been cooler to pick more of that guitar up for the final chorus. But it fizzles instead to the same chorus. Overall, decent comes to mind. But I am sure Losing Game could have been more proactive and taken to the next level had it not been held back.

Losing Game is about a relationship being one sided, and we do get that impression in the video. There is a female character in the video which we can see is in a relationship with LEO. But we don’t see her face often. And when we do, it is covered with a mask to suggest that she is hiding something. In the end, she runs away, leaving LEO behind. LEO obviously goes after her, but he can no longer find her, suggesting that she might have never loved him. I liked the melodramatic settings of the music video. LEO’s opened jacket look was a bit questionable in my opinion. I am on the fence on whether it matches the concept or not.

I actually liked the stillness that started off the performance. That never really gets much attention, so I thought I point it out for this review. There was some really good flow in the movements during the verses. And I like the body waves that opened with the chorus, complementing the sensual vibe that is brought to the comeback via the R&B instrumentation.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Winter Butterfly – Hyuk (VIXX)

As this is a VIXX related review, I wish to inform that Leo is nominated for Best Male Soloist in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support Leo by clicking the link here to vote for him and your other favourite artists before the 31st of December (which is in 5 days!!!).

VIXX has a relatively quiet year and it seems like this is going to be the case over the next couple of years since the members are fast approaching the age of military enlistment. Leo (Romanticism) and Ravi (Tuxedo) have remained active through solo works. And Hyuk joined them last week with the release of his first mini-album, Winter Butterfly. The title track shares the same name as the album. The mini-album also contains the handful of solo singles that Hyuk has also released throughout the year.

For those who don’t know me, I am always a sucker for the lesser known members of the group. Hyuk falls under this category as he is always under appreciated when it comes group performances. His vocals are a lot weaker than Ken or Leo, while his rapping isn’t as dynamic as Ravi. And hence solo releases tend to be blessings, showcasing what we would never get in a group setting. Winter Butterfly does just that, offer us more of Hyuk’s vocals. The rock ballad (which is one of the few styles that I tend to really enjoy) starts off soft, which compliments Hyuk’s usual style of vocals. His voice remains soft throughout the song but it builds as the instrumental develops. It somehow remains well-balanced and I really like that about the song. I like how the song doesn’t revert to the verse-chorus-verse-chorus etc. formula. I didn’t notice this at first, but it caught my attention after a while. He only reverts to the softer sound to close out the song. A fairly large section of the song is in English, which I thought he handled nicely. Overall, Winter Butterfly is extremely satisfying and I am glad that Hyuk is finally getting his moment to shine.

The music video is pretty much standard yet also makes quite sense. To compliment the song, Hyuk walks around enjoying nature and the local scenery in the music video. I feel this works well with the song, as you can get ‘lost’ with the song, which is similar to how one could get ‘lost’ while experiencing something breathtaking such as nature. I really like the brown and golden hue that the video features, which gives off a warm feeling and fits more of an Autumn setting. The snow, I guess, is incorporated to make the music video fit into ‘Winter’. But it seemed to be included post-production, as there was never any snow around him.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] Cool Love – Hongbin (VIXX) & Hyungwon (MONSTA X)

Pepsi has been one busy company this year. As a partnership with Starship Entertainment to produce The Love of Summer series, Pepsi has pulled together a number of artists to promote their brand. Back in April, Ravi and Eunha came together for Blossom, while last month we saw the return of Ong Seong Woo to the music industry through Heart Sign. Yesterday, another track as part of the series was released. This time around,  they bring Hongbin from VIXX and Hyungwon from MONSTA X together for Cool Love.

Both Hongbin and Hyungwon are not known for their vocals, so it would be interesting to see how a collaboration track between them would turn out. Cool Love had the potential to be a good track. There was just one overwhelming issue with it. It just didn’t cohesively come together to be that good track. This was because the instrumental was a little messy. I thought Cool Love had a nice smooth instrumental for the chorus, which sounded like a song that a model could strut to. It was also my most favourite part of the song, as it did have a memorable rhythm. But the other parts felt like a total mismatch. For example, the dance break added unnecessary flair and felt like it was trying too hard. The start and bridge felt quite weak and didn’t really feel like it complimented the rest of the song. Vocally, I thought they were good. It was clear from the start that they needed the instrumental to help carry them. But they handled it well, despite suffering from the disjointed instrumentation. What I did like was the tone that they displayed, which I think their respective groups should really utilise in the future. I think given my comments, this isn’t my favourite song from the series thus far.

While the song was rather disappointing, the music video was not. Both Hyungwon and Hongbin are known for their visuals and I felt that the music video did an awesome job of showcasing that known fact about them. I did like the sets, which I think suited the tone of the track and looked very cool. What I really liked was that the video didn’t feel too much of a Pepsi commercial like the other videos did. It felt like a normal music video, with the subtle placement of the Pepsi brand/products added. Another part of the music video was the choreography. I won’t dedicate a separate section/rating to it, as we probably won’t see a performance for it and I don’t really have much to say about it. But it looked good, overall.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 5.8/10

[Album Review] Muse (2nd Mini Album) – Leo (VIXX)

Since we are back on schedule, there will be two album reviews coming out this weekend. Both album reviews will be focusing on solo releases that have occurred recently. And it might extend to the album reviews in the next week (so I guess you can start guessing who these albums might belong to).  Today’s album review will be for Leo’s recent comeback. The main vocalist of VIXX returned with Romanticism a few weeks back, which is featured on Muse, Leo’s second mini-album to date. 

Muse Album Cover

1..Romanticism (로맨티시즘) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Romanticism. (7/10)

2. Things About To Happen (다가오는 것들) (ft. Choiza of Dynamic Duo) – One of the elements I really liked about this very emotionally charged track is the minimalistic instrumentation. It is like the blank canvas analogy that I sometimes use to describe a track. However, there are accents within the instrumental that makes the song so much more impactful and bone-chilling. Despite the extra addition to helping boost the impact potential of the track, the main strokes that make art on the blank canvas are Leo’s voice. There is no doubt about it. His singing in this track is filled with emotion, which makes the track feel so captivating. I am not too familiar with Choiza (from Dynamic Duo) but his rapping really fitted in well and added to that serious atmosphere the song has oozing from the track. (10/10)

3. Nostalgia (향수병) – As Leo is the main vocalist, it was inevitable that a ballad or two would be included on the album, even if he went with another R&B track as his title track. Nostalgia talks about the uneasiness that arises from a good memory that comes from a former relationship. He doesn’t want to remember it. But at the same time, he is afraid he will forget this memory. I am sure many people can relate to this dilemma. Per usual, it is a heartbreaking song. But that is one of Leo’s fortes. His voice suits these emotion-heavy tracks, so he is in his element. His raspy vocals does wonders in the track. I like how the classical instrumental adds to the heartbreaking feelings he portrays and I often find them coming in at the right moment. Even though it is a slow ballad (which isn’t often my ballad style of choice), Leo enchants once again. (9.5/10)

4. Tight (타이트해) – Leo changes things up with Tight. It isn’t another ballad. Instead, Tight is a smooth and sensual dance track. And while it is nice for a change, Tight wouldn’t be the first thing that comes into mind (given the nature of the lyrics). But it is still a good song. His voice lends well for this R&B style as well, which I think is what he enjoys more. There are a number of moments that grab my attention. The first is the pre-chorus. I really liked that sudden brief pause before going onto a small tone change that still manages to fit into the rest of the song. As the chorus was more sensual and doesn’t have a drop, this pre-chorus really built up momentum. The chorus contains whispers that I think fit the nature of the track, pushing whoever Leo (or the writer) had in mind onwards (you can decipher the meaning of that sentence). The most awkward moment comes from the chorus as well, in the form of ‘La La La be dab’. I want to know what the meaning of this is. (8/10)

5. Muse – Unlike the other tracks, Muse is not emotionally centred. This provides us with a chance to breathe from the heartbreaking or sensual emotions that have been the main focus of the album thus far. However, I find Muse charged in a vocal sense, as Leo’s voice does manage to shine brightly in this track. He pairs well with the slow rock ballad nature of the song, which ends up showing us another side of the artist that I would love to hear more from. Apart from Leo’s voice, I liked the ballad start and end of the track. By completing the song with how it started, it felt like the track completed a full circle and hence providing us with a very satisfying feeling (as if you are full) once the song ended. (8/10)

6. The Flower (Pre-Release Single) (ft. Maximilian Hecker) – The album ends with a ballad collaboration with Leo and Maximilian Hecker, who is known for his dream pop music (according to Wikipedia). I find that Leo’s voice isn’t showcased as well as his previous track. But instead of the vocals, it is the stunning instrumental that is showcased. I find that Leo’s voice is on the softer side, complimenting the soothing and calming nature of the predominately piano instrumental. But I think the winning moment must be when Leo passed the vocal baton over to Maximillian Hecker. Both their voices sound alike, and I honestly thought Leo was still singing (just in English). Overall, I thought the track was a nice end to the album. It was as if it was leading us to prolonged sleep so that when we wake up once again, Leo would have returned with another album. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

Muse Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Romanticism – Leo (VIXX)

Second up on the reviewing spotlight is Leo, the main vocalist of VIXX. He has returned with his solo comeback mini-album, Muse, which features the title track Romanticism. This is his first comeback since the release of Touch & Sketch in 2017. I was prepared to write and publish this review alongside with SF9’s review yesterday but had to delay it due to the late release of the music video (I did watch the original but it disappeared before I got to review it).

The song starts off well. I liked the slow pace of the instrumental, which really drives that mature and sensual sound. The R&B instrumentation definitely set the mood. It was rather interesting how he delivered his lines. It felt like his lines didn’t fit in with the slowness of the track. But this isn’t a terrible thing as I thought of it as a nice effect. I think the chorus was classy and gave the song momentum. But from the bridge onwards, the song lost its flow and anything that managed to be showcased at the start disappeared. The final chorus, even though it recontinued the momentum, didn’t feel as impactful because of the derailment caused by the bridge. Leo did show good vocal work throughout the song but I felt the song could have used something more, like a rap sequence (I am not sure, but I continually heard Ravi’s voice in the background and low key expected some surprise featuring). So overall, I thought it was an okay track. Good at the start but a letdown at the end.

The music video was okay, as well. I did think it was bland and didn’t have anything captivating going on to be worth discussing. I did like the colour contrast between the warmer and colder colours in the choreography set. And I think the camera work in this video worked well with the instrumental. But other than that, I don’t much else to say about the music video.

I think the most likeable element of the comeback is the performance. The chemistry between him and the backup dancers made this performance stand out, sensual and more suspenseful, especially at the start. I liked that sudden burst of energy in the performance when it came to the chorus and I am sure fans enjoyed that pelvic roll.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] Blossom – Eunha (GFRIEND) & Ravi (VIXX)

It has been a while since we heard a collaboration. It seems like this isn’t going to be a recurring thing in 2019, based on the number of collaborations thus far in the year. However, we were provided with some relief with the release of Eunha and Ravi’s collaboration for Pepsi last week on the 11th of April. This is also the second year in a row that Pepsi has asked KPOP idols to come together for a collaboration, with YDPP and WJMK releasing two songs last year with Pepsi at the forefront of both videos.

Despite the visuals of the music video, Blossom is not necessarily that cutesy love song that you are looking for that companies have utilised in their campaigns. This style would obviously not suit Ravi, as per his husky vocals and usually hard-hitting rap style. Instead, Blossom is a subtle pop track with a lot of sweetness mixed into it to make it appropriate for Spring. I really like the rolling drum beats in the moments that the song is building up, which gave the song a sharp incline to the chorus. Other than that, the instrumental was rather light and calming. I also liked the whispering at the start of the chorus, which I thought was rather sleek. While we all know that Eunha is a vocalist (I really liked her in the first verse. The melody was also quite nice) but it was surprising to hear Ravi sing for his chorus and some of his verse. I also like how his rapping wasn’t as hard-hitting as based on his solo and VIXX works. Rather, it was well tweaked to fit the light nature of the song. It felt like I jumped around between different aspects for this part but overall, the song was quite nice. 

Based on the video, cherry blossom season is in full swing. And the video takes full advantage of the pretty sights. The song ‘cheers on young people to achieve their dreams and also their pursuit for romance’ and we get to see those two sides in the video. Ravi is an aspiring artist, while Eunha is auditioning to be an idol. The two do face some hardships but manage to push through. And in the midst of their slumps, they meet each other and become interested. Some awkward meetups happen and they end up dating one another. And it is incredibly convenient that Pepsi sponsors their entire romance storyline. Hahaha…

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] Reincarnation – VIXX

I hope you all are enjoying these Japanese reviews. I know I have dropped them for the last few weeks due to my studies but now, with more time on my hand, I will be returning with weekly Japanese reviews. VIXX recently returned to Japan with their next single, Reincarnation, which is also the name of their 3rd album in Japan. The album also features the Japanese version of Scentist and Shangri-La, while also contains a number of original Japanese songs.

Reincarnation feels rather typical. It doesn’t really offer anything new to the listeners as the song goes jump on board of the EDM train, with some drums layered in the background, This combination does bring some intensity but it masks any impacts that the song attempted to make. I guess the added bonus of this is the tempo, as it is quite fast paced. However, I don’t get why they stripped away the instrumental in the moments leading up the chorus. It completely stole any energy that the ‘Flashback’ buildup (which was my favourite bit, by the way) had. I thought the vocals were nice, while the rap sections were rather interesting, giving the song some different textures. I felt like I focused on a lot of negatives for the song so I will end up on a positive note. The delayed start to the final chorus (where they only had drums) was a winning moment.

I am a little disappointed by how the members had little to no interaction with each other in the video. There was a “dance version” but the choreography scenes were edited into the original version, so there wasn’t really anything new there. But despite that, they managed to tell what I believe seems to be a complete story. I just have no idea what it is (so there isn’t anything new with me as well!). If you know any theories, please post them below! There is a lot of colours, which I quite like. And a lot of reverse action going on, which was interesting. My favourite section has to be exploding clouds in the background of one of Hongbin’s solo scenes.

With the performance I watched for the review, I thought the choreography could have been more intense fast paced. Like they slowed down when required but I felt like they could have picked up the pace for the chorus. The dance break did look cool and probably was the most intense section of the entire performance.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10

[Review] Touch & Sketch – Leo (VIXX)

Leo is the main vocalist of VIXX and he has officially made his solo debut with Touch & Sketch. Leo joins a long list of solo acts whom have debuted over the past few years despite still being active as part of their groups. He is also an accomplished musical actor, as well. Touch & Sketch is featured as the title track on his first mini-album, titled appropriately as Canvas.

I personally expected Leo to go down the ballad route for this solo debut (which I really should stop doing because they never go down the ballad route). So it was a plesant surprise that he went with an upbeat song. But keeping with the aura that Leo has, the song features a decent melody during the verses. I am not too big on the verses because they felt slow, compared to the upbeat chorus which I liked a lot more. However, his husky vocals did give off a smooth vibe, which highlights the sensual nature of the song. I really like the lead into the chorus (I believe the lyrics are ‘Now I feel lips‘) and the small sequence of drums that feels like the gateway to a nice chorus. I like how the chorus goes and its catchiness makes the song quite memorable. While it isn’t Leo’s expertise, I would have liked a rap sequence somewhere in the song. As much as it feels cliche, it needed something more to give it some edge. But overall, Leo’s debut song was pretty cool.

I liked the music video because it shows a side of Leo that I have not seen. I know him to be the very quiet member from his debut days so to see him in this sensual lighting was a little odd for me. But it works well with that aura that I mentioned in the prior paragraph. He likens the idea of love to art, as you you have to be able to feel both to connect with it. I did find some of the editing a tad choppy for my liking, often passing over a scene very quickly. It could have been a lot smooth to reflect well with the song’s smoothness. But other than that, it was a good video.

The performance was good and fitted the song quite well. I like how the chorus had a certain level of fierceness, which gave the performance that edge that the song lacked. He looked super focus, which I guessed works well with the serious sensual nature of the song. And that sensual nature mentioned in the other paragraphs was felt strongest through the choreography.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.6/10


[Album Review] Kratos (3rd Mini Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos was published on Monday, Wednesday for Hades and Friday (today) for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Kratos was released in October of 2016 and is the final part of their Greek mythology trilogy. Kratos is the Greek God of War, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was The Closer, which I reviewed previously. Kratos, along with the other two singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

Kratos Album Cover

1..The Closer (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of The Closer. (9/10)

2. Desperate – Opening the song is a very dramatic yet haunting introduction which fits perfectly into VIXX’s portfolio. And this same haunting effect followed throughout the verses. However, what I really liked is how the song sudden turned into an EDM based chorus in a matter of seconds. It was unexpecting but it does really make the song intense enough to become memorable. Both the vocals and the raps were perfect and it is an example of a song that has me coming back for more. (10/10)

3. Shooting Star –To me, Shooting Star felt like your standard pop song. There were few elements in the song that did leave me intrigued such as how the vocals were presented and how Ravi’s raps appeared throughout the song (instead of being condensed in a single section). The song just didn’t have enough to become memorable and have me coming back. Despite that, it was still a decent track. (7/10)

4. Good Night & Good Morning – The song is about wanting to break up. It is a lot softer in terms of volume as compared to their previous song, going with an R&B type of feel. Ravi opens up the song by singing, which is a rare event in the VIXX discography world. The touch of autotune was nice. Once again, I thought the vocal work was pretty nice, with Leo’s vocals during the chorus is the most memorable. There was also a pause towards the end of the song which made you assume that it was finished. I personally thought the song could have ended there, with the extra bit being an ‘excess’. (7/10)

5. Romance Is Over (로맨스는 끝났다) – This song is your standard ballad to have on any album. It showcases good vocals. Within the instrumental, I liked the drums and how it helps create a nice build-up to the chorus. Ravi’s rap was also quite fitting for the song, fitting neatly into the more delicate instrumental. My only issue with the song is the abrupt ending in the instrumental. But other than that, another good song. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

Kratos Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Album Review] Hades (6th Single Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos was published on Monday, Wednesday (today) for Hades and Friday for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Hades was released in April of 2016 and is the second part of their Greek mythology trilogy. Hades is the Greek God of the Underworld, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was Fantasy, which I reviewed previously. Hades, along with the other two albums/singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

Hades Album Cover

1..Fantasy (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Fantasy. (8.5/10)

2. Love Me Do – Once again, I like the upbeat vibes of the song, which do give the song some energy. The song just feels repetitive by the time you get to the end. However, the song doesn’t really let go, which I think is an important charm of the song. There are some other elements of the song which I liked. There is a sensual sound to the song, which is part of the appeal of the song. I thought both Hyuk and Hongbin sounded really nice in this song, alongside the great vocals from the other members. Overall, Love Me Do is one great side track for the group, fitting in with the dark vibes of Fantasy. (8/10)

3. Butterfly Effect (나비 효과) – The song had a mid-tempo instrumental despite falling into the ballad domain. The song had some good vocals and sounded like a nice confession song. The rap sequence was nice and I liked the roughness that it gave the song. The song just didn’t really appeal to my personal taste and felt like a standard ballad in my mind. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

Hades Teaser Image (Creepy)

[Album Review] Zelos (5th Single Album) – VIXX

I have been holding onto a number of album reviews for a while now and have decided to release them before I forget about their existence. For this particular week, I wanted to focus on VIXX’s Greek mythology trilogy, which was released back in 2016. The review for Zelos will be published Monday (today), Wednesday for Hades and Friday for Kratos.

Here is just a very brief rundown of the album release. Zelos was released in April of 2016 and is the official start to their Greek mythology trilogy. Zelos is the Greek God of Jealousy and Rivalry, which formed the basis of their concept and song lyrics. The title track of this album was Dynamite, which I reviewed previously. Zelos, along with the other two albums/singles, was combined in November to form the VIXX 2016 Conception Ker (a compilation album of their trilogy).

Zelos Album Cover

1. Dynamite (다이너마이트) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Dynamite. (8.5/10)

2. Six Feet Under (늪) – The song is quite vibrant and upbeat, similar to Dynamite title track. However, it keeps to VIXX’s true side of darkness through the lyrics and it’s instrumental gives off an edgy vibe. The pre-chorus is quite mysterious (in a good way). The way the line ‘Six Feet Under, That’s Enough‘ is sung throughout the song is super addictive. I also liked the vocal work in the song. Likewise, I felt the rapping was intense and you are basically thrown into it, which works wonders. (8/10)

3. Farewell Hands (손의 이별) – This is a ballad, which is about parting ways after losing chemistry in a relationship. The vocals are really well done, conveying the heartbreaking emotions well. The English lyrics that is scattered throughout the song seem to be well fitted for the song. There is a nice melody, particularly during the chorus which sounds nice. The instrumentation is quite standard, which seems to be the only thing that I can hold against the song. Other than that, the song is still fairly decent to listen to. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

Dynamite Music Video Gif

[Album Review] EAU DE VIXX (3rd Studio Album) – VIXX

Smelling beautiful for their comeback is VIXX and their 3rd studio album, EAU DE VIXX. The new album features 12 songs, including Scentist and Shangri-La (links below). I only reviewed 11 as the 12th track is the instrumental version of Scentist. This is another long review, so let’s get right into it!

EAU DE VIXX Album Cover

1..Scentist (향) (Title Track)Click here for the full review for Scentist. (8.8/10) 

2. Odd Sense – There were parts of the song which I liked, while there were parts I wasn’t a fan of. Let’s start off with the positives. I really enjoyed the build-up during the pre-chorus and at the start of the song (0:10-0:13 of the song). The way the chorus actually ended was interesting and unique sounding. Also, Ravi’s rapping overall in this song was quite cool, slaying with each line. Moving to the negatives. Unfortunately, the vocals felt standard and the verses were quite plain. The song also felt dragged out. It also didn’t feel that catchy. (7/10)

3. Silence – Unlike what the title seems to allude to, the song is not ‘silent’. It opts for trap elements and a pretty good beat. It also has a very appealing sound as it doesn’t go overboard with obnoxious drops (which would have worked in this song). The build-up to the chorus was awesome. The vocals and raps were amazing.  It was quite catchy, with the English lines in the chorus being my absolute favourite. The only aspect which I didn’t like was the bridge but it was still one great song. (9/10)

4. My Valentine – This song has a seductive sound yet a somewhat minimalistic instrumental. I really like the short piano moment between the vocals and raps during the verses. Once again, I thought the verses were boring and that extremely deep ‘How Do I Know That?‘ line was unfitting for the majority of the singing (which was at a higher pitch). I did like the falsetto singing but it wasn’t enough to win me over. (5/10)

5. CircleCircle is a slow-ish R&B song that sadly is another miss for me. It just felt bland and doesn’t really draw any attention to itself. The song, too, focuses on falsetto vocals, which were okay. I did like how the song ended with a subtle hint of piano, while the word ‘Circle’ repeated throughout did echo in my mind afterwards. (6/10)

6. Good Day – What makes this track stand out on the album is its upbeat vibes and the energy. In addition, I really liked the guitar in the instrumental. Unfortunately, I thought the vocals were kind of meh and the raps weren’t that memorable. But despite that, it was a funky track and the instrumental did its bid in making this song enjoyable. (8/10)

7. Escape – Like in the previous track, there are guitars in the instrumental. However, this song features guitars that are more fitting for the seriousness. Jumping out at me is how ‘VIXX’ the song is. Over time, they have managed to develop a certain sound that I associate with them and this song fits perfectly into that association. The vocals were good but not the best on the album. However, the raps do stand out quite a bit. The song didn’t have a strong hook but I can’t explain why I kept coming back for more. The ‘Run Away’ whisper at the end as the song faded out was also quite cool and definitely left an impression. (8/10)

8. Trigger – I thought the song had a smooth yet classy R&B sound to it. For the first time in this review, the verses were really cool and the pre-chorus was equally as awesome. The slight delay before the drop was used quite well here and it showcased an extremely catchy chorus. Great vocal work and Ravi’s rap (per usual) is amazing. Another great song on this album. (9/10) 

9. Resemble (닮아) – This is the mandatory and only ballad featured on this album. It just isn’t really a strong track for the group and out of all the songs on the album, this was the least interesting/most skippable. The song did have an instrumental that was somewhat jazzy. And that felt like the most interesting thing to point out. (5/10) 

10. Navy and Shining Gold – To give some background information, the two colours in the title are the official colours for VIXX and fandom. Using that information, it is clear that this song was for their fans. The upbeat chorus just makes you want to dance along. All the members showcased great vocals. It is a song that is aimed to make you feel good and that it does well! (8.5/10)

11. Shangri-La (도원경)Click here for the full review of Shangri-La. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10

EAU DE VIXX Teaser Image

[Review] Scentist – VIXX

VIXX have made their return to the stage with Scentist and their 3rd full-length album, EAU DE VIXX. This is their first comeback as a full group since Shangri-La was released back in May last year. The concept for this comeback is ‘scents‘, which when combined with ‘artists‘ becomes ‘Scentist‘. Their teasers have also been presented in a way that resembles perfumes and colognes.

Scentist takes on a softer approach compared to any of their past title tracks. It feels very elegant and classy, despite being EDM based. The verses had nothing that special, in my opinion. However, its the buildup to the chorus that has me excited. It isn’t a sharp climb nor does it employ obvious instrumental techniques to show off the buildup. Instead, they kept it soft (to match the other parts of the song) and you had to listen closely to figure out whether that buildup was there or not. And the vocals during that section was amazing. The chorus was nice but I feel like they could have gone with something a bit bolder, which in my mind, might enhance the song to a whole new level. The chorus seemed catchy and it may grow into an addictive song. Ravi’s raps paired with the song quite well and I like Ken and Leo’s harmonies at the end. Scentist is another great song for VIXX, which went for something a little different to what we were used to.

The music video was amazing. I really liked the laboratory scenes where they made their perfumes. The white background with the white cabinets and tables allowed the colours of the other items to really pop. It also allowed the individual members to be the centre of attention. There were a few things that I am a little confused about, such as the car and the snake. A part of me feels like they were creating some kind of reverse ageing potion, with the young kid copying Ravi (and Ken – not sure) at the end of the video. Overall, I liked how the music video looked and it seemed like an interesting story can be pulled from it.

Earlier this year, VIXX garnered attention for their end of year performance of Shangri-La. This particular comeback seems to take notes from that performance and Shangri-La itself, as it is rather elegant and classy. When the song picks up for the chorus, the dance moves seem to become intense, which I think is extremely ideal. I really like N’s moment at 0:40 of the music video, which I think can rival N’s killer smile during the Dynamite promotions.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Choreography – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Review] Whisper – VIXX LR

It has been two years since the VIXX subunit made their official debut with Beautiful Liar. VIXX LR is officially back with a brand new mini-album and title track, Whisper. While it has been a while for the duo, VIXX has been busy with multiple comebacks over the past two years, with Shangri-La being their most recent one.

Whisper is an unexpected song. I originally expected that they would go down the Beautiful Liar route with a similar song. But instead, we get a completely different sound with a fresher appeal. It took a few listens for me to warm up to it and I can officially say it is a pretty dynamic song. The softness that you feel through Leo’s vocals and the roughness from Ravi’s rap blend very well with each other.  Actually, certain parts felt like VIXX LR was actually whispering the song to us, which I thought was quite nice. The summer perfect hip-hop style instrumental is quite nice and it takes the backseat for a majority of the song. They seemed to pick it up for the final chorus but it seemed a tad late then. It probably wouldn’t fit the whisper aspect that I mentioned a few lines above, but I felt the song could have done with more bass or a bolder instrumental. But what we got, in the end, was pretty awesome itself and I think I like it quite a bit now.

The music video for Whisper is what I wanted to talk about the most. There is a distinct storyline to the video, which I like. Leo and Ravi, as showed at the end of the video, are connected by a very thin line. What their relationship is, however, is up to the interpretation of the viewer. But it clear that both members seem to play opposites of each other (hence the red and blue colour profiles). Leo seems to play the more innocent and submissive side of a person, which I felt was prominent from the way he caressed the books and yarn. Ravi played a more dominant and rebellious figure, from the way he sits in the car and dresses. There also seems to be a connection between both VIXX LR videos. The imagery in some scenes was there and I thought that was pretty cool. My guess is that Whisper is the prequel and it leads to the development of the characters played by Leo and Ravi in Beautiful Lair (i.e. Ravi plays the dark angel, while Leo plays the easily persuaded person). Overall, I thought it was a pretty good video to watch.

I don’t find myself drawn to the performance of the song. The choreography was okay but VIXX LR seemed to take more a backseat this time around. I am not that troubled by that but it leaves me with little to say. That part in the music video (which doesn’t seem to be in the performance due to Leo singing at that same moment) is probably my most favourite.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8/10


10 Favourite Non-Title Tracks (Part 1)

Welcome to the first ever ‘Special’ segment of my website. Though I have used the category ‘Special’ for other purposes in the past, I thought I could use to expand the content of what I write. So I thought I would make various lists of different aspects of the KPOP sphere, starting off with non-title tracks that should be more appreciated. I have other ideas lined up like “favourite OSTs’ and ‘favourite dances’ etc. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below and I may just look into your idea. In no particular order, here are 10 (and this particular will be expanded in further editions) favourite non-title track songs by KPOP artists.

Crying – Sistar

Sistar leaves behind many great tracks, so of which barely get enough attention. What makes Crying a great track are the vocals. They were dynamic and gave the song a very unique feel. I thought the chorus was extremely catchy and interesting with how it starts off with a striking delivery of the word “Love”. The instrumental was pretty simple and their vocals/raps matched it perfectly.

One Step, Two Step – Oh My Girl

I personally thought this song has a very nice blend of instruments. It also felt like angels were singing to me.  The track ended up being very addictive, becoming a song that I would search for on YouTube for a while. I loved how the track started off very sweet and nice. But as you approach the chorus, we enter a more upbeat phase, making the build-up sound amazing. The violins in the bridge were also amazing, with it being another highlight of the track.

Albatross – B.A.P

Adding to the fun vibes of their 5th mini album, Carnival, Albatross is one track to jam to. It is a very down to earth feel and listening to the song makes you wonder how fun the recording process would have been if there was a stage or music video accompanying it. It was released in February but there is a very vibrant and Summer feel to the song, making it a track that I constantly listen to during Winter when I want to feel some warmth.

Shadow – F(x)

I think out of all the non-title tracks out there and the songs on this list, this is the song that everyone will agree on as the most underrated song ever. It literally catches your attention with its very creepy lyrics. But the lyrics are smothered with the sweetness of the instrumental and their vocals, making the creep factor exceed the highest possible limit. It is extremely addictive and I totally love it.

I Wanna Fall In Love – Song Ji Eun (Secret)

Song Ji Eun’s tracks have always been intriguing for their dark messages. Her more recent releases haven’t followed that path, which is quite disappointing. But there are a few that have caught my attention, such as I Wanna Fall In Love. It is much better than many of her recent title tracks and her strong vocals resonate throughout the entire track. It dominates the entire track, which I think is amazing and the song is quite catchy after a number of listens.

Get The X Out – Sunny Hill

Judging from the title, I would never have thought of the song being what it is. It is extremely unexpected, as the instrumental is reminds you of toys and dolls. Very innocence. But instead, it holds a very scary message telling their partner to just leave. I love how they cut the swearing out (or else it would be banned) but it makes everything feel more intense. And this is another reason to why I love Sunny Hill’s songs. They take uniqueness to a whole new level.

Before The Song Ends – JJ Project ft. Suzy (Miss A)

To hear that JJ Project will be getting a unit comeback stage before the end of the year makes me extremely happy. But before that, I must show you all this extreme party-vibe track. Sure, it may be overpowered by autotune but it one hell of a song to jam to. Suzy’s featuring in this song makes it so much better. But the real winners are JJ Project, who has such a dynamic track under their belt.

Maze – VIXX

I tried to include some old tracks and some more recent tracks on this list. Maze falls under the “more recent” category, with it being one intense track to listen to. That is mainly because every time I listen to the song, I feel a rush of adrenaline as if I am actually running through a maze myself. It is a super catchy track and dynamic at the same time.

Switch – NCT 127

Switch is the only song on this particular list that has its own music video. From memory (and what I read a few months back) that this song and music video was recorded before the debut of NCT. I was totally into (and still am) the instrumental of the song. It sounded different to other songs that I have listened to. It’s another track that gives off a nice Summer feel, which I am totally digging at the moment, as I freeze each morning.

One Minute Back – SHINee

This, by far, is up there as one of the best songs ever released. It is such a unique song on so many levels. Their vocals are on point throughout the track, especially during the entire chorus. The lyrics of the song depict a guy catching his partner cheating on him and wanting to turn back time. Overall, listening to just once will not be enough as it leaves a very long lasting impact that makes you want to go back and listen to more.



[Album Review] Shangri-La (4th Mini Album) – VIXX


A few days ago, I wrote the review for VIXX’s latest title track. And given that I am a big fan of the group, it would be obvious that an album review would be coming your way. At first I thought I wouldn’t have time to write it today, but it is VIXX, so I pushed all my assignments to one side and wrote this. No regrets though, because it gave me another excuse to listen to their album and focus on the group entirely for one night. This is their 4th mini album to date, which is also titled as Shangri-La.

Shangri-La (4th Mini Album) Cover


1..Shangri-La (Title Track)  – Click here to see the full review of Shangri-La (8.5/10)

2. Into The Void – I love the introduction to this song. It sounds like a soundtrack out of a really good movie. Throw the group’s vocals on top of that soundtrack-like instrumental and the song turns into a spine-shivering song that sounds like pure amazingness. The chorus changes it up a bit, but still keeping that epic feel from the start. And then, Ravi’s rap throws the track into chaos. Not saying that is a bad thing here, it fits very well and gives the track that needed boost of energy just before the final chorus, in case it got oo repetitive. (9/10)

3. Black OutI think it is going to be an expected thing when it comes to VIXX albums. The presence of a questionable track that gets fans a little hot and bothered. Throw in the performance for a track like this and all I can say is damn… Out of all the songs, this one is the catchiest out of all. The track itself uses a seductive tone, especially from Ravi, which is extremely appropriate for a song of this nature. (9/10)

4. It’s Coming (다가오네) – The obligatory ballad on the album. Like I have mentioned throughout the review, their vocals are top-notch, which is amazing. It’s another song, regardless of its meaning or message, that makes me want to sway along to it. The percussion in the instrumental give the song that dynamic side, fitting in nicely with the upbeat tracks that preceded it. (8/10)

5. To Us (우리에게) – It’s the song that the album needed. A return from the previous ballad to the more upbeat songs of the tracklist, but not a complete return. I personally think this is an amazing song. It is easy to the ears and their vocals are superb in this song. Literally, their vocal work on this album is their best yet and they maintained that standard to the very end of the album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.7/10

Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp